"I'm much honored to be picked," Malloy said, when reached for comment by telephone last week. Malloy was among 13 key people throughout the state picked to help look at a possible change to the constitution. The Property Tax Convention Task Force will recommend how a state constitutional convention on property tax reform should be set up.
Malloy, who serves as the city's business administrator, director of finance, comptroller and chief financial officer - as well as other duties - said the panel would examine a more equitable way of taxing, calling the current property tax system regressive.
"That means that it does not take into account a person's ability to pay," he said, noting that a fully employed professional with the same valued house would pay the same taxes as a senior citizen on a fixed income. "This has been a concern locally for all of the 24 years I have worked for the city."
Malloy, the only representative from Hudson County, joins a group of task force members who have a long connection to the issue of property taxes or can provide insight from such perspectives as public employees and minorities.
Rutgers University professor Carl Van Horn of Highland Park was named chairman and the Property Tax Convention Task Force. He will launch a series of hearings and meetings that will be open to the public and news media beginning sometime in September at the Rutgers New Brunswick campus.
The task force must offer its recommendations to the governor and legislature by Dec. 31, which will form a basis of a proposed constitutional convention on taxes designed to come up with changes that would create a better way of taxing the public. In this convention, the legislature would design a referendum to be voted on by the general public in November 2005.
Malloy said he would reexamine previous tax relief studies, in particular, a 1988 study instituted by then Gov. Tom Kean called the State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy (SLERP) commission on property taxes in New Jersey. The SLERP Commission considered in detail numerous tax and spending issues and presented 111 recommendations, which included use of caps and "circuit breakers" in taxing to ensure urban regions and low income taxpayers got relief.
The new task force will also likely look at a 1998 study of taxes that encouraged statewide independent analyses of taxes. This report also recommended the increased use of sales and income taxes to offset the impact of property taxes.
This is similar to a recent proposal by Assemblyman Louis Manzo (D-31st Dist.) who proposed the use of income tax to help cut school taxes.
The creation of the Property Tax Convention Task Force is the final piece in what the governor called a Fair and Immediate Relief Plan to provide tax relief.
Assembly Speaker and West New York Mayor Albio Sires - who appointed Malloy to the Task Force - said this was the first step toward long-term tax reform.
"For far too long, politicians have forced the property taxpayers of New Jersey to live under a system that is broken and unfair," Sires said.
State Senate President Richard Codey said the task force will examine a possible constitution convention on tax reform.
Gov. Jim McGreevey said the task force will have a big impact on the future of the state.
"That is why it is so important that the task force represent a wide range of New Jersey citizens," he said.
Nine of the appointments to the task force were made by the governor, the rest were split among the state Senate president, the state Assembly speaker, and the minority leaders in the Senate and the Assembly.
"These individuals we are appointing bring a wealth of experience, expertise and passion that will serve New Jersey well," McGreevey said.